Jacinda Ardern has slumped in the polls, and now looks seriously at risk of losing power. A 1News/Kantar poll recently found the opposition National Party could form a coalition with the ACT Party and remove Labour from power. The New Zealand prime minister’s own approval ratings have dropped three percent. Express.co.uk spoke to David Farrar, a politics and polling expert from New Zealand who works with the National Party.
He explains that while Ms Ardern won plaudits for her effective Covid response in 2020, she has also failed to deliver on some of her biggest promises.
Mr Farrar said: “A big problem for Ardern is her lack of delivery. There has been a whole range of promises she made when she first came to power in 2017. She said her government would build 100,000 houses within 10 years. They have built 1,300 after four years.
“They said they’d plant a billion trees, they have done four percent of that.
“Just this week there was a story that they promised 100,000 counselling hours for students to help with the pandemic, they are actually delivering 800 hours a month or something like that.
“They promised they would build a light rail system in Auckland to be completed by the end of next year, they are now saying they will sign off a business case for it by 2025.
“If Covid hadn’t come along, I think this would have been an issue in her first term. Now Covid is out of the way, people are saying, ‘I quite like Jacinda but her government is just incompetent.’
“I think the combination of the Covid effect wearing off, the cost of living being a major factor and that lack of delivery.”
The New Zealand economy is also under strain as the country suffers a cost of living crisis similar to the one seen in the UK, US and other parts of the world.
Inflation is at seven percent, a 32 year high, and some economists have even suggested the country could enter a recession.
Despite this, Mr Farrar says next year’s election is far from settled. With Labour and National still very close, Ms Ardern could jump in the polls if she delivers on some of her promises.
Her Labour Party has expelled MP Gaurav Sharma after he accused the party bullying.
Ms Ardern said Mr Sharma was expelled for “repeated and calculated breaches of caucus rules”, which “resulted in the complete loss of trust by his fellow Labour MPs”.
She added: “It’s worth remembering the root cause of this fallout was multiple members of Gaurav’s staff raising issues with his management.”
Mr Sharma maintains that he has been “bullied” and “raised genuine claims”.